Highwaymen review by Matt Fuerst


I consider myself pretty active on the movie front. I've got a decent idea on the big movies currently in production and know the flicks that were released the previous weekend and what's coming out the following weekend. So it is always a pleasant surprise when I catch a preview on DVD for what looks like a big name flick that I completely missed. Such was the case for Highwaymen. I saw the preview before some trash DVD, but Highwaymen itself looked pretty promising. No, the story of a dude going around committing serial homicide with his car didn't appear to be Oscar material, but it sure looked fun and seemed to have great (theatrical level) production values. Checking out my brothers are BoxOfficeMojo.com shows me that Highwaymen pulled in a sweet $371,396 at the box office at 111 theatres. Hm, I guess that explains why I missed it.

Movies don't get much simpler than this. James Cray (James Caviezel) is a happily married man. Then a nutjob mows over his wife in the middle of the street. Cray goes whacko and, in turn, crashes his car in Fargo (Colm Feore). Fargo is twisted up pretty bad from the crash. Fargo was a mental case before Cray attacks him, but now sets out to commit hit and runs from sea to shining sea, Death Race 2000 style. Cray is the only person that has put together the string of vehicular homicides, and is always just a second to late to stop Fargo from his evil. Enter Molly (the delicious Rhona Mitra), Fargo's latest victim. Molly is involved in an Fargo-inspired accident, but is the sole survivor. Cray knows fully well that Fargo will return to finish the job, and he needs Molly as bait to finally dispense the ultimate justice on Fargo.

I should warn you that my simple summary really doesn't do much justice to the movie. In fact, the DVD Box itself suffers from the same fate. You read something like that and pretty easily dismiss it. I saw the preview and was intrigued and went to the video store specifically for the flick. After reading the box cover, I picked up the disc, but I admit I went looking to see if anything "better" was on the shelves (Nope, Catwoman is still out! Darn!). While Highwaymen is a simple revenge flick set on the road, a description of the film doesn't do justice like a nice 2 minute trailer can. It's hardly original in most of what it does, so maybe that's why the producers were so shy of a wide release. I'm sure most everyone that saw the trailer dismissed it as a Joy Ride rip off, but in my opinion it is a far better film that Joy Ride.

I'm not much of a "car guy", but Highwaymen sets up the main battle not really as Cray vs. Fargo, but instead as Cray's Barracuda vs. Fargo's ElDorado. And it is pretty neat. Fargo's ride is huge, imposing brute of a machine. Cray has trimmed and customized his 'Cuda within a pound of it's life. Already a street racer, he removed all sound deadening material to make it even lighter and faster. The characters themselves are good fun and don't seem to take the going-ons too seriously. Fargo, played by Colm Feore, a pretty good and well known serious actor, is like a modern day Frankenstein. Pieced together by technology that's modern, yet somehow seems archaic and ancient gets to have the most fun with his role, pushing around anyone that gets in the way of his ugly green Caddy. Molly (Mitra) does the innocent femme thing, being hot and innocent. Boom.

It really is a darn shame that Highwaymen is stuck in obscurity, and likely a permanent obscurity to boot. It's a real fun action revenge flick that blends the best elements of Joy Ride and Mad Max, two movies pretty good in their own right. If you're in the mood for some fun, Highwaymen is one of the best things to come out of Hollywood in a long time.

9 out of 10 Jackasses
blog comments powered by Disqus